Self Release [Release date – 15.12.2014]
Pallas are one of the most enduring and consistent bands of the prog rock genre and every album release is keenly anticipated by their loyal following. It has been over three years since their last studio album, ‘XXV’, which featured a strong debut performance from Paul Mackie on vocals. This latest release was made possible by a crowd funding scheme, so was the money put to good use?
You can tell by listening to the opening track, ‘Shadow Of The Sun’, that the funds raised have been well spent. The production and mix are spot on and the music is of the highest standard. The song is driven along on a solid bassline provided by Graeme Murray and is a full on prog rock epic.
‘Harvest Moon’ follows and takes the pace down a notch. There is an almost Pink Floyd feel to the track, ethereal and atmospheric, with one of many excellent vocal performances from Mackie. Paul has really stamped his identity on the track and his slightly unhinged delivery towards the end adds to the overall feel, it should go down a storm when played live.
Another track destined to be a live favourite is ‘Dominion’, a real tour de force in the best Pallas tradition. The track twists and turns allowing Ronnie Brown on keyboards and Niall Mathewson on guitar to let loose with their musical weapons of choice, impressive stuff.
Mackie has a chance to shine once more on the quiet, reflective track ‘In Cold Blood’. This track really shows that he was the right choice to fill the vacant frontman position and that he is more than capable of continuing the legacy and writing his own chapter in the Pallas story. I am sure that anyone who chooses to talk through this track in a live setting will get a swift visit from the slap fairy!
The album closes with ‘Winter Is Coming’ which is another prog powerhouse. It marries another great Murray bassline with a fantastic riff from Mathewson which contains the odd reggae like flourish adding another element to the song.
There is a bonus track on some versions of the album, a ‘wearewhoweare’ megamix, which cleverly condenses the best moments from all songs into a 6 minute snapshot. It is well worth making sure this is on whichever format you purchase as it is a cracker of a bonus track.
Pallas have produced an album of the highest quality which no self-respecting prog rock fan should be without. The song writing and musicianship are first class throughout as is the production on the album which adds the gloss to an already shining example of the progressive genre.
I don’t think that anyone of the many who put their money and faith in the band will feel short changed with the results. ****
Review by David Wilson
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